Family Food Allergy Foundation Memorializes Elijah-Alavi

Elijah-Alavi

The parents of three-year-old Elijah-Alavi were devasted by the loss of their son. While at preschool, Elijah, who had food allergies including dairy, was mistakenly given a grilled cheese sandwich. He suffered a fatal attack of anaphylaxis. From that tragedy Elijah’s parents embarked on a path of advocacy and education, so that other parents wouldn’t have to experience the same heartbreak. They founded the Elijah-Alavi Foundation, which includes “Elijah's Echo,” an initiative raising awareness of food allergies and anaphylaxis.    Read the article here.

Last Minute Breakthrough at 2014 Albany Session

Albany LegislatureDuring the previous two sessions of the New York State legislature, our association had seen no progress being made to better protect children with life threatening allergies at risk for anaphylaxis in our school districts. One proposed piece of legislation after another had failed to gain enough votes to pass the Assembly or the Senate. But for 2014, as the old saying goes, ‘….third time’s the charm!’

June 20, 2014

On the last day of the 2014 legislative session in Albany, two bills related to anaphylaxis, epinephrine and NYS schools were successfully approved. They were:

NYS S07262A & A07791A sponsored by NYS Senator Kemp Hannon and NYS Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti won more than enough votes to pass thru both houses successfully.  The enacted bill will enable school districts to authorize school nurses to possess and administer auto-injectable epinephrine without a prescription, in the event of an emergency and to authorize (but not require) schools to provide and maintain epinephrine auto-injectors on school property.

Regarding NASE, Senator Hannon said, “The timely administration of epinephrine to a child suffering from a food allergy could mean the difference between life and death. This legislation will allow school employees, with proper training, to use epinephrine auto-injectors on students or staff in an emergency. With food allergies affecting between six and nine percent of young children, having trained staff with life-saving equipment in our schools is imperative.”

NYS S07758 & A09334B sponsored by NYS Senator John J. Flanagan and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan also was enacted.  It relates to health services in schools and also to pupils afflicted with allergies, diabetes, asthma or another respiratory disease.  If signed into law this bill would allow students with the proper prescriptions to carry and use epinephrine, glucagon, insulin and asthma rescue inhaler medications everywhere during the school day.  While the bill’s title does not mention specific medications by name, they are listed within the text in extensive detail.

"As a mother, I know that while we want our children to enjoy all school activities, it is terrifying to think that their safety might be at risk,” said Catherine Nolan.  “With the passage of this legislation, parents of students with severe allergies or asthma can rest assured that their children will have immediate access to treatment in case of a medical emergency. I am proud to sponsor this bill, and I urge the governor to sign this life-saving legislation into law."

The Allergy Advocacy Association is very grateful to Tom Abinanti, John Flanagan, Kemp Hannon and Catherine Nolan for their successful lawmaking efforts.  We think that the upgrading and improving of current NYS guidelines and regulations into verifiable and enforceable laws is vitally important to saving lives from anaphylaxis.  Our association firmly believes children with life-threatening allergies must be made safer in all of our schools be they urban or rural, large or small.

The next step is for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign these bills into law.   Opponents may still try to persuade him to veto the bills and prevent implementation.  Issues involving children’s health at school are often very contentious, especially in New York.

Nevertheless, we urge the Governor to sign these bills as soon as possible.  Any further delay may place the lives of school children at greater risk for anaphylaxis, a dangerous allergic reaction.

The Allergy Advocacy Association seeks to raise awareness of the dangers of anaphylaxis and improve access to life-saving epinephrine.  Our association does not wish to become involved in any sort of political controversy.  As a 501(c)3 Not For Profit we make no campaign contributions of any kind.  Our attention is focused simply upon facts, not politics.  Some of the facts that concern us are:

  • About 15 million Americans have food allergies.
  • One out of every 13 children have food allergies, about two in every classroom.
  • Food allergies in children increased nearly 50 percent between 1997 and 2011.
  • Twenty-five to 30% of anaphylactic reactions occur at school without a prior diagnosis.
  • The vast majority of the epinephrine administrations in schools were performed by the school nurse (92%).

If you are a New York State resident and agree that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo should sign these bills, then please click here to sign our two petitions. 

Our association greatly appreciates any support you may choose to give us.  The vision of the Allergy Advocacy Association is a clear and direct one: “Not another life lost to anaphylaxis – not another life lost to ANY life-threatening allergies!”

ImmunomicTherapeutics Announces Significant Strides in Peanut Allergy Vaccine Development

Researchers at Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI) are showing very promising results after developing a immunotherapy protocol that could vaccinate individuals against deadly allergic reactions to peanuts.

ImmunomicTherapeutics Announces Significant Strides in Peanut Allergy Vaccine Development

Hershey, PA & Rockville, MD
June 17, 2014

"We reduced the allergy in just four doses delivered over four weeks, where several other approaches require a once-a-day peanut protein treatment for more than a year," says Dr. Teri Heiland, ITI’s Vice President of Research and Development.

Vaccine leader Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI) announced that it has successfully completed a model animal therapeutic and prophylactic study protocol for ARA-LAMP-vax, a breakthrough treatment that mitigates peanut allergy.

The milestone brings the company one step closer to an immunotherapy that could eradicate peanut allergy, one of the leading causes of death from food reactions. More than 1.5 million children suffer from a peanut allergy, and the cost to treat them has soared past $25 billion.

“This is an exciting development that may finally lead to a product to treat peanut allergy and eliminate the daily fear and unintended consequences of accidental exposure,” said Dr. Teri Heiland, ITI’s Vice President of Research and Development. “So many children are just a bite away from a potentially deadly allergic reaction. The world needs a solution, and completion of this study and external validation of the product puts us right on the doorstep of clinical validation of this breakthrough treatment.”

The ITI vaccine uses patented LAMP technology to educate the immune system to not react against peanut proteins with an inflammatory response.

An allergic person’s immune system develops an inflammatory response when it interacts with peanut proteins, causing the production of large quantities of Immunoglobulen E (IgE) antibodies that attach themselves to mast cells and basophils throughout the body. This sensitizes the body to peanut exposure and results in hypersensitivity or allergic reaction.

The ITI treatment delivers information about the peanut allergens to the body using LAMP-vax technology. It eliminates the need to expose the patient to even the minutest amounts of peanut protein. The process effectively reorients TH1 and TH2 cell activity to reverse the allergic reaction.

When ARA-LAMP-vax was applied in a peanut allergy model, the study found that peanut allergy was greatly reduced with four doses. Pre-treating animals with the vaccine prevented development of a peanut allergy altogether.

“We reduced the allergy in just four doses delivered over four weeks, where several other approaches require a once-a-day peanut protein treatment for more than a year,” says Dr. Heiland. “Those protocols expose patients to the allergen, so there’s a risk for allergic reaction. Our LAMP technology eliminates that risk because patients are not exposed to free peanut antigen.”

With the study complete, ITI is preparing to bring the product into the clinic. Animal studies will continue in an effort to optimize the vaccine with different routes of administration and treatment schedules for long-term protection. It is worth noting that ITI safely completed a Phase I study using the same LAMP-vax technology applied to cedar pollen. In that study, 100% of the allergic subjects showed reversal of skin test reactivity to the cedar pollen.

The company expects to be ready for manufacturing and subsequent preclinical bio distribution/toxicology testing in early 2015. Study design for the Phase I clinical trial is being finalized, with a goal to enter clinic with this potentially game-changing therapy in 2015.

About Immunomic Therapeutics

Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI) is a privately held clinical stage biotechnology company dedicated to pioneering vaccines that transform lives. It is headquartered in Hershey, PA with lab facilities in Rockville, MD. ITI develops next-generation vaccines based on patented LAMP Technology. Its LAMP-vax™ vaccine platform significantly increases immune response to nucleic acid vaccines and simplifies vaccine design and delivery for safer, more cost-effective therapies. Its LAMP constructs have been validated in human clinical trials for cancer and have been applied to targets like allergy, cancer and infectious diseases. For information about ITI and LAMP Technology, visit http://www.immunomix.com.

How to treat bee, wasp stings; when to see doctor

bee on flowerSpending time outdoors in the summer months is wonderful, but bee stings are always a risk. Read this article by Dr. Thomas McCoy on how to treat a bee or wasp sting, and what signs to look for if you need to get to an emergency room fast. Remember, a first, more mild allergic reaction can become deadly on a second wave.

By Dr. Thomas McCoy
Columnist

How to treat bee, wasp stings; when to see doctor
San Jose Mercury News
06/10/2014

It's June and we're in the middle of the spring season. I love the spring— the flowers are in bloom, the weather is warmer, and I enjoy spending more time outdoors.

Of course, spending more time outdoors can carry risks. One moment you're on a nature hike, the next moment you're on a nature hike getting stung by a bee.

Yes, spring is the first part of the baseball season, and time for the bee-sting season.

All kidding aside, bee stings can actually pose a serious health threat. If someone is allergic to bees, a sting can be a life-threatening situation.

In the vast majority of cases, though, bee or wasp stings are not a cause for concern — they usually just cause some pain, swelling, redness and itching at the site of the sting.

Dealing with a bee or wasp sting will obviously be different depending on your sensitivity.

But let's begin with the most common scenario in which a person has a mild reaction.

The first thing you need to do is remove the stinger if you were stung by a bee (wasps don't leave stingers behind).

You can get it out with your fingers, tweezers or even the edge of a credit card.

Remove it as quickly as you can in order to limit the amount of venom released.

Next, wash the affected area with soap and water.

Once you've done that, apply ice and take an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen to limit the swelling.

If the affected area gets itchy — a fairly common side effect —you can apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to get some relief.

The pain and discomfort should go away in a few hours.

With a more moderate reaction, swelling around the site of the sting may persist for a few days and even grow larger.

There are also alternative home remedies that you can find recommended on the Internet like meat tenderizer and toothpaste.

I can't vouch for these remedies, although some might have some therapeutic value.

What I can say is that ice and anti-inflammatory medication are what most people need to get better.

Sometimes, however, ice and Motrin won't do it.

In rare instances, people who are severely allergic to bee stings can go into anaphylactic shock, a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

Signs that you may be having a serious allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting include wheezing, swelling of throat and tongue, rash or hives, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should call 911 or seek immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency room.

People who have had anaphylactic reactions to bee stings need to get an Epi-PenTM and carry it with them in case they are stung again.

Users inject a pre-loaded amount of epinephrine with the device, which provides a fast-acting method for reducing symptoms of anaphylaxis. After using the Epi-PenTM, people should still go to the emergency room as they may need further medical care and observation.

Now that I have contributed to adding bee stings to your list of phobias, let me emphasize that only a very small percentage of the population is allergic to bee stings, and a sting is rarely fatal.

So go out and enjoy the beautiful weather and, if you get stung, the odds are you'll be fine — just monitor your symptoms to make sure you're not having a serious reaction.

Thomas McCoy is a physician at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center specializing in emergency medicine. Healthy Outlook is written by the professional staff of Contra Costa Health Services, the county health department. Send questions to series coordinator Dr. David Pepper at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The information provided on this site is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical advice,
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